The Mappa Mundi

Albi’s Mappa Mundi is one of the two oldest known representations of the world, as it was perceived in the 8th century (the other one is owned by the Vatican). This unique medieval map is registered in the UNESCO Memory of the World Program. Albi, the Episcopal City, is doubly recognised and classified by UNESCO.


The Mappa Mundi is one of 77 sheets of manuscript which belong to the Albi Cathedral Chapter. This map, drawn in the middle of the 8th century, was used as an educational document in the Bishops’ library and acted as a model for the Albi Scriptorium. It represents the world in the form of a horseshoe. Based on the representation of space in Antiquity and updated with Christian elements, it presents a world centred around the Mediterranean Sea, orientated to the East. It features around fifty names of cities, regions, rivers, seas and winds.

A map of the world painted on a rather thick parchment of goatskin or sheep skin.

La Mappa Mundi d'Albi - Albi Tourisme, par Fabienne


Albi is the only French city, apart from Paris, which is listed on two different UNESCO lists:

  • World Heritage site for the Episcopal City
  • Memory of the World for the Mappa Mundi

This medieval map of international interest has an exceptional universal value. In October 2015, it was added to UNESCO’s Memory of the World register, becoming the 12th element of documentary heritage proposed by France.


  • From June to September, the Treasury rooms of Sainte-Cécile Cathdedral display 9 information panels. These explain its production, its content and the history of Albi’s Mappa Mundi, from the 8th century to modern times, plus a facsimile of the map.
  • The original Mappa Mundi of Albi is conserved, like the other medieval manuscripts from Albi’s Cathedral, in the Pierre-Amalric multimedia library in the Cordeliers district. As it is extremely fragile, for conservation reasons, it cannot ever be exposed to light.
  • A pedagogical touchscreen can be found at the library, offering a fun way to discover the map of the world. Due to COVID-19, the touchscreen is not accessible. 
Mappa mundi Albi- exposition-fac simil-salle-du-tresor-de-la-cathedrale-Albi-Tourisme.jpg

Mappa mundi Albi- exposition-fac simil-salle-du-tresor-de-la-cathedrale-Albi-Tourisme.jpg, par Fabienne